The Republican Party continues to rot from the head down. The GOP’s refusal to distance itself from Trump, even after he refused to admit that he lost the election and subsequently incited a deadly Capitol riot, has announced to the world that American conservatives are perfectly okay with authoritarianism. Conspiracy theories now form the foundation of the Republican worldview and their talking points boil down to thinly veiled racism, imagined grievances, and kneejerk opposition to everything the Democrats propose. The organization is far more akin to a cult than a functioning political party.
For the most part, Republican politicians seem perfectly content with this state of affairs (regardless of what anonymous members of Congress wring their hands about behind closed doors). They want to maintain the support of the base by supporting their party’s worst extremes and then turn around and secretly assure journalists that they actually hate Trump and are deeply concerned about the direction of the party.
That said, there are a handful of Republicans unafraid of saying what they think without anonymity. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is one such Republican. Despite voting with Trump the majority of the time during his presidency, Kinzinger eventually transformed into a blunt critic of the former president and was one of only ten GOP representatives to vote to impeach Trump after January 6th.
Today, Kinzinger tweeted out a list of some of the worst things Republicans are doing right now. He numbered them one through five and they are as follows:
- Pushing conspiracies about the FBI related to January 6th. Tucker Carlson and other prominent MAGA-type Republicans have started building the narrative that the Capitol siege was in fact a false flag orchestrated by the FBI. There is, of course, no evidence for this deranged conspiracy theory.
- Comparing the 2nd Amendment to the Vietnam war. Recently, Rep. Madison Cawthorne (R-NC) argued that the right to bear arms is designed to help Americans overthrow the government and that in such an eventuality the armed citizenry could conduct itself like the Vietcong. Such an armed rebellion is a persistent fixture in the fantasies of right-wingers.
- Being scared to shake the hands of the police who defended them. Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-GA) was widely criticized for voting against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol police who fought back against the January 6th insurrection. He then refused to shake hands with such an officer when he met him this past Wednesday. “Blue Lives Matter” to Republicans, but apparently only when those blue lives are convenient to their political narrative.
- Opposing Juneteenth. Some of the worst creeps in Congress, fourteen of them in fact, voted against making Juneteenth—a celebration of the end of slavery in America—a federal holiday. Several prominent conservative commentators fell to pieces when Biden signed the holiday into law.
- “So much more battshittery.” By this, Kinzinger presumably means all of the other truly insane narratives the Republicans are currently pushing, from arguing that Critical Race Theory is an existential threat to the United States to QAnon. The fact that it’s not immediately clear what “batshittery” he’s referring to is rooted in the fact that there’s so much to choose from. The Republican Party has truly lost its collective mind.
Kinzinger ended his tweet by stating that it would be a “great time” for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to “assert some influence.” While Kinzinger is correct, he’s also being a bit naive. McCarthy has made it perfectly clear that he supports Trumpism and all its multivariate tendrils so long as it helps the GOP maintain power. He is asserting influence, but that influence is aimed at propping up MAGA and undermining American democracy.
Some GOP are: 1) pushing FBI conspiracies on Jan 6, 2) comparing the 2nd amendment to Vietnam and the VC, 3) scared of shaking the hands of police defending them, 4) opposing Juneteenth, 5) so much more batshittery. Would be a great time for @GOPLeader to assert some influence
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) June 18, 2021
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This is a staff report from former Occupy Democrats Editor in Chief Colin Taylor or contributor Rob Haffney.